Dutch propaganda movie about cremation!

source:Polygoon Hollands Nieuws – 6th March 1948
producer: Willy Mullens van Haghe Film

Back in the fifties cremation was not as known and popular as it is today. No wonder that it needed to be promoted. This typical simplistic (and mute) propaganda-like movie is very interesting. One of the things silently ‘advertised’ is; “why have a burial in bad weather if you can have a perfectly conditioned cremation inside?”

crematorium Mainz DE

source: youtube

This documentation was produced in the nineties to show how thing work when it comes to cremation. The style of filming and blurring of some employees gives it quite a strange atmosphere. Make up your own mind what to think about it.

Århus chapel crematorium

After a rather troublesome start of our visit, we were lucky to get a good impression of this crematorium which was designed by architect Henning Larsen and finished in 1969.

The crematorium exists of a small chapel directly joined with a cremation room. The crematorium was recently upgraded by the architectural company still wearing Henning Larsen’s name. The upgrade existed of adding a separate installation room behind the original building which is connected under ground. Also a mostly glass waitingroom was added in front of the entrance.

Even though it is very small, the historic atmosphere and perfection in all details provide a perfect ceremonial space. As in the Norwegian Haslum you see here that a good ceremonial space promotes its own use.


Vestfold crematorium in Sandefjord

Here we met director Ola Asp who has a lot of expertise and a very clear and interesting view on cremation and crematoria in Norway.

Besides the wealth of information we received, we were genuinely impressed by the building itself. It is not a very large building but still it is very spiritual and open to the exterior. People visiting the grounds around the crematorium could in theory see what is happening inside.

Everything here is breathing a respectful atmosphere, in perfect harmony with the work and the organisation itself.

Specially the rich spatial quality of the rooms in this relatively small crematorium and the attention for detail in the interior were great.

History at the Haslum Crematorium


The classic beauty of the Haslum crematorium was really impressive. Originally it was designed by John Engh and the building was finished in 1962.

Here we were received by landscape architect Naomi Louise Wilde of the Bærum kommune. She provided us with insightful information and a very interesting view.

This crematorium is special in many ways. In contrast to many other older crematoria it was technically upgraded to keep functioning as a crematorium, in part thanks to its special architectural status. Also it hosts the ceremonies for most of the cremations taking place at the facility, for Norway this is very exceptional.

It seems that making ceremonial spaces together with the technical crematorium back in the sixties, now gives way to opportunities. We are curious what the future will hold for this jewel.

Norway’s Alfaset in Oslo

After our first visits in Denmark we passed through Sweden where we had to skip the crematorium in Stockholm (so we will be back). This time around we went straight to Oslo to meet director Stein Olav Hohle at the Alfaset crematorium who received us very kindly. We were shown through the whole process and how the building supports this. Also the technical staff was kind and very helpful us during the visit.

What was very interesting at Alfaset was the unique way the building interacts with its surroundings. The new building protects the old chapel from the rumour of the street while at the same time it does not dominate the chapel or the terrain at all. If you combine this with a very humane and open approach it seems the Alfaset crematorium is a perfect fit.

Bispebjerg in København


Since the manager Tony Fryklund was unavailable we were received most generously by mister Jan Larssen, a senior member of the technical staff. Besides the fact that it was a very nice interview, this turned out to be extremely interesting. We really got an in-depth idea of the functioning of the facility.

The crematorium is very beautiful inside and out but most strikingly it proved to be a very pleasant place to work. Bispebjerg is light, open and has a real humane quality while at the same time creating a spiritual and respectful atmosphere. This all the more interesting since in Denmark it is not very common for the deceased’s loved ones to attend the actual technical cremation.

At the time of our visit DFW Europe was working on a rebuild of the oven installations. The four ovens, who were originally built as pairs sharing their ‘backside’, will be rebuild as separate units. This was also interesting, the downside was that it made the exterior photography a little tricky.

Kickoff in Ringsted

The first crematorium we have visited on our tour was the one in Ringsted. Here we were received by director Tom Olsen who had just hosted a visit from his European colleagues only two weeks earlier!

Mister Olsen was very helpful and gave us a real insight in the cremation business and how the crematoria in Denmark are functioning. Besides this invaluable information he had a perfect example of crematorium architecture to show us around in. Needless to say this is a very inspiring building.

Head of design from Henning Larsen, Peer Jeppesen was also present. He told us how the crematorium was conceived from an architectural point of view. This gave us a great perspective of the design. At the same time he told us about the crematorium in Aarhus which was designed by the founding father of his office and we would visit two weeks later.

Tour through Denmark + Norway

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Next week our tour visiting crematoria in Denmark and Norway will start. We will visit six crematoria in total. The tour starts on the Danish most eastern island Sjelland. Here we will go to the Bispebjerg Krematorium in Kopenhagen and the Fælleskrematoriet in Ringsted, where we will also meet with the renowned architectural office: Henning Larsen.

After this we will continue our journey and go to Oslo’s Alfaset. Leaving Oslo we will travel along the east coast of Norway and visit two more crematoria along the way: Haslum and Vestfold.

After a little detour to catch some trout in the fjords we will be returning to Denmark by ferry. Here we will finish our journey on the peninsula Jutland, after a visit to the last crematorium of our trip in Aarhus.

‘Between Worlds’


Contemporary art in a room where people usually say goodbye is exceptional. Art becomes a social context where life and death is the only certainty of existence.

This exhibition is not intended to emphasize the sadness of the moment but in a “World Between”.

exhibition from 06/06/14 until 08/11/14 monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday and saturday from 10:00-16:00 at crematorium Lochristi en crematorium Sint-Niklaas in Belgium